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Hotel Garibaldi, Palermo: Review

About Hotel Garibaldi

Hotel Garibaldi is a modern four-star hotel in the centre of Palermo, next to the Politeama theatre. The hotel has big comfortable bedrooms, and a clientele divided between tourists and business travellers. I stayed at the hotel for two nights in June 2010, paying €69 per night for a single use of a double room; a very competitive price.

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My stay at the hotel

Hotel Garibaldi is in an imposing building on the main street, but it doesn't have a proper hotel facade, and I walked past it before having to retrace my steps. The entrance is at one side of the building, down a stepped slope. Look out for the hotel name over a gateway alongside the building (see photo below left).

Despite being on the lower ground floor, the reception area and adjacent bar were bright, with fairly stylish modern decor. This is an international, business-standard four-star with a slick modern feel. It did lack the warm personal touch of smaller establishments, but the English-speaking staff were polite and helpful when asked, for example: printing out ferry timetables for me.

Bedroom

I was extremely impressed when I entered my hotel room. The double room was very large, with two extra-wide single beds side-by-side. The décor was simple and stylish – cream walls; black furniture and headboard; red 'designer' chair; cream bedding with a black-and-white throw. The effect was very pleasing and up-to-date, as well as fresh, new and clean. Furniture included two bedside tables complete with notepad and pencil, a wide desk with a power point and internet cable (there was a charge for internet access), a suitcase stand, waste paper basket, Sky TV on a small flat-screen set, and two stylish red metal chairs with cut-out patterns (at first, I thought these were more comfortable than they looked, but over time the metal shapes began to have a pastry-cutter effect on my thighs). The room was decorated with a big picture of carrots on the wall.

The most surprising feature of the room was a tea tray with kettle, tea bags and mugs - this is very, very rare in Italy. Visitors requiring milk or instant coffee would need to provide this themselves, the biscuit tin was disappointingly empty and it was unclear if a water bottle alongside was free or not. However, these are quibbles and the mere presence of basic tea-making equipment was a big bonus.

The bathroom was bigger than many hotel rooms I've slept in. It was equipped with a huge bath, spacious shower, toilet, bidet, glass basin, hooks and towel rail and room for bottles and washkit. Toiletries were decent, though not generous (several items were whisked away after my first night as the chambermaid realised I was alone).

My bedroom's air conditioning was quiet and effective, and there were controls in the room for adjustment. There wasn't the usual, legally-required document pinned up with price and category informatio for the hotel. Although there was a bar menu and mini-bar price list, there was no other information about this hotel – internet access, services, check-out times, breakfast – just a leaflet advertising a sister hotel.

I loved the room, which had an air of peace despite audible traffic noise from Palermo's busy streets. But I did have one reservation, which was the windows. The bathroom and bedroom windows were double-glazed, but the bedroom one didn't close completely, diminishing any sound-proofing. My bedroom was level with a stretch of pathway outside, but neither window had any kind of translucent covering which would have allowed daylight in but no curious glances. I'm not at all sure the slatted bathroom shutters weren't see-through at night, and in the bedroom I could only choose between shutters, thick curtains or being on public view. I'd have liked quieter, more secure windows, a blind in the bathroom and a net curtain (or similar) in the bedroom. Given the high quality of the other fixtures and fittings, I was surprised the windows and coverings weren't better.

Breakfast, facilities and public spaces

There were comfortable seating areas by the bar on the lower ground floor and also facilities for business. Breakfast was also on the lower ground floor, with tables spread between three rooms. The buffet breakfast was laid out in two of these rooms and it was a good, generous selection - for those guests who realised that they had to hunt their food down in more than one place. Waitresses drifted around clearing tables, but tea was a DIY affair involving unlabelled hot water, lidless teapots and trip to both buffet areas to obtain cups, a beaker of milk and so on. The food consisted of all the usual Italian breakfast offerings, with a good selection of croissants, pastries and cakes, as well as bread rolls, yoghurts, fresh fruit, cereals, meat and cheese.

Location

The hotel is in the modern part of town, so the old city sites are a distance away (though still walkable). The port is down the road. The bus for Mondello stops right outside the hotel. From the railway station Palermo Centrale, it's a simple but long walk; better to take a taxi or a bus (numbers 101 and 102 run from Stazione Centrale to the Politeama). The bus to Palermo Airport stops in the piazza close by; staff were well-informed with timetables.

There are several places to eat on the hotel's street, between Hotel Garibaldi and the port. These include a richly-stocked food emporium with take-away and eat-in food.

Recommendation

The Hotel Garibaldi's location is convenient and central, good for transport and bus stops, but Palermo has a lot of traffic noise and I'd suggest you request a room away from the street. I found the position convenient for arrival (a bus from the railway station) and departure (airport bus).

I thought my bedroom and bathroom were remarkable for Italy: huge, comfortable and stylish. My only complaint would be the windows, and also the fact that on both my mornings in the hotel, the cleaner entered my room at 8.15am without making much effort to check my presence, or, indeed, if I would be checking out.

Hotel Garibaldi is a good, smart city hotel. Staff were efficient and helpful, though they weren't overflowing with enthusiasm (witness the lack of information and milk in the bedrooms; though I heard guests comment on this at reception during my stay, and many others must have done so in the past). Whether you're travelling on business or holiday, the Garibaldi makes a comfortable place to stay, and a refreshing change from more typical, and cramped, Sicilian hotels. My single-traveller rate for the double room was very good value, especially considering the size and standard of the bedroom.




Highlights

Choosing a hotel in Italy

Monreale

Mondello



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Palermo hotels & B&Bs

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